Seussian Studiotime

I’ve done a lot of uploading and tweaking wordpress for the shop, and while I have plenty of pieces in stock, I was itching to get back into the studio again.

This brush needed to be taken out of its misery too!

My rainbow collection garnered a custom Valentine order, which I cheerfully fulfilled.

These are off to new homes.

I also recreated the infinity pendant that came out of a Now That’s a Jig! playdate.

My original version was snapped up right away, so here is this brighter pendant.

A bangle I created last year turned out to be too small, and then my customer asked to have it embellished with birthstone beads to represent her family.

So I set out to Dave’s Rock Shop and Ayla’s Originals to get the right gemstones.

The bigger size bangle called for a new mandrel.

Then I layed out the stones.

Stringing took a full afternoon, as most of these tiered bangles do.

I love the look of them though.

I donated a few keychains to worthy causes.

Some will pop up in various fundraisers throughout the year.

I also made a Seuss-inspired pendant for Chiaravalle Montessori School’s “Oh The Places You’ll Go”-themed Spring Benefit.

Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite authors and I own his full collection, including the Dutch books I grew up with. So I wiggled together a whimsical wire form to reflect the Seussian landscape.

I took a cue from “Oh the Places You’ll Go” and drew some lines in the pastel colors of the book onto tissue paper. Of course there had to be a nod to the message of the book on the back.

Now my spirit is restored and I can get back to the mundaner tasks of business management and planning. I multitask during product uploads, and ponder the places my business will go.

Main-Dempster Mile fun

I am easing out of hibernation and it is safe (no longer too cold) to take angel out and about on my adventures.

Evanston’s Main-Dempster mile is full of fun adventures. Squeezebox has the right idea with these postcards.

I had tacos for charity on the day of the Woman’s March, and later went to La Principal again with friends.

A few weeks later Brothers K collected funds for the ACLU.

My frosty is still hanging out at Rolf’s Auto Care, where I took my car for service.

We rewarded ourselves with some Sketchbook beer after a Hip Circle workout.

Stumble & Relish’s lovely card selection, along with my stash of Curly Girl Design’s Love Delivered subscription has me writing a postcard on Sundays.

I got to sample SPARK Syrup with Prosecco on Thursday and picked up some earrings I couldn’t resist.

Vivian Visser explained the process and inspiration behind her beautiful creations during an Artist talk at Cultivate.

This wonderful show is up through the end of the month.

It is always neat to see who shadows interact with art work on the wall.

I attended a few recent The Collage Cafe workshops, and loved the glowing woman who emerged from the last Grown*UP Girls Club session.

My vision boards will be shown when they manifest.

Then I was introduced to Bullet Journaling at Hip Circle Studio.

Next weekend I hope to explore Evanston’s Black-owned Businesses during Tour de Noir.

There’s always something fun to do in Evanston.

Bead Counting

Last week I shopped for some birthstones at Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop and at Ayla’s Originals. Ayla’s had a wonderful vintage bead sale and I couldn’t resist picking up a  sparkly iridescent strand.

Then I made a pact with myself to inventory what I have at home. I always gravitate toward the same colors, so I had to ensure that what I have is sufficient rather than giving in to temptation.

I also need to update my spreadsheets with what is still on hand after a few years, so much counting ensued.

When I went to the Bead & Button Show I had a list of colors and types of beads I could buy. I also had a current photo of my bead rack in the camera for reference. Over two days I made my way through my stash and identified beads that I had not yet learned names of in 2011.

Clearly I have plenty in my stash to keep me busy, but it is still wonderful to peruse bead stores, fondle the strands, and learn more about unique gemstones and bead artisans.

Right now my mission is to make a dent in the beads I have and post those creations onto the shop.

I also need to get the birthstone bangle completed that started this inventory session in the first place.

What are your favorite gems?

WebShopping

I am busy loading products to the shop and working on tweaking some of the emails that follow the order.

Plugins and embedded php shortcodes are a whole different interface than the HTML I learned in 2000.

Still, the store should be functional enough for you to get your Valentine on (in spite of one pesky sidebar I need to remove).

I needed some rainbow therapy during the longest two weeks that impacted so many people.

So I made some hearts to cope with the events that I could not control.

Somehow making these pieces gives me peace.

The Love Wins heart got sold right after posting, but the full rainbow collection is up.

I am also continuing to add to the angels that are in the catalog right now.

A Spring theme with flowers of all kinds is also in the works.

The most time consuming part is getting all the pendant neckshots, especially since those shoots are daylight-dependent and it’s been a bit dreary lately, alternated by too much sunshine.

Then there’s the cropping and resizing, but being on Etsy gave me lots of practice to where I can listen to podcasts during this process.

I look forward to making some progress this week so you have the full range of my inventory.

Wishing you much love and joy as we navigate interesting times.

Desiderata

I am working on my shop, and with all the turmoil in the news I have no head space to draft a blog right now, so Max Ehrmann will have to do for this week.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Whose words sustain your soul right now?

Holiday Support

Between fairs in November and December I also sent off a few commissions. Through the Wilder Mansion Girls’ Nite Out I met a person who wanted an heirloom earring converted to a pendant, the way she had seen in my display. Throughout the process I had to gauge my strength no not break this lovely resin rose, and in the end my jitters were rewarded with a lovely pendant.

My aim was to not use glue in the process so the earring can be re-purposed in the future as needed. Another customer ordered a bangle at the Holiday Show which was super-fun to create. I really like this bead combination a lot.

My Rainbow Angels went from Facebook posts to orders, and I sent several off to new homes. My Facebook angel album also garnered two other shipments.

A few more special angels went to friends’ homes. I am so grateful for all the support I received during the holiday season. It is validating to see your creations be a cause for delight on other people’s faces and to actually sell them to appreciative customers. This season showed growth compared to last year, and while it is small growth, it gives me hope to keep working at carving out an artist career.

I had consigned at The Collage Cafe, which was rewarded by some sales as well. I am excited to have joined the Grown*UP Girls Club this year for gatherings of creativity, inspiration and community.

A pair of ornaments also stood out at ChromaK8.

My holiday run at Sacred Art in Lincoln Square also proved beneficial. This store is such a delight of locally created gift items and home decor.

I am uploading my remaining non-seasonal angels in the shop this week, and look forward to sending more of them out into the world. We sure need some angels right now…

Shop Loading

Now that the holidays are over, I am inventorying the pieces that came back from boutiques and preparing for the month of love and Valentine’s Day.

This includes photographing my pieces for online upload, and then creating the database from which you can start shopping now.

I’m currently doing all the web work myself, but will probably need some help with the various glitches still happening, which aren’t all easily fixed with a changing theme. Still, it is fun to put on my techie hat for a bit and fiddle with WordPress Plugin functionality.

I’m loading my ‘non-seasonal’ angels this week, to be followed by hearts and springy jewelry for February.

My dragonflies were a big seller and I will post some I have in stock, and I am excited to play with more swarm ideas over the next quarter. The ladybugs I have with me are all online right now.

Poke around and let me know what pieces you want to see uploaded next. Hopefully the functionality is seamless on your end!

Brenda Schweder Day

Right after fair season ended, it was time for a fun day. Now That’s A Jig! inventor Brenda Schweder had ordered an Ugly Sweater Angel via Instagram, which was a fun challenge.

I used some of my Belgian felt pieces as embellishments, picked some ‘ugly’ paper, and then ‘uglified’ it more by creating as much glittery pattern as possible on the body and wings.

Then when I told her I was about to ship it, she said she would come pick it up instead, with video equipment in tow. So I had to clean my desk!

Brenda arrived and the lights were set up.

I asked Brenda to bring an extra 1″ square peg for my mini-book projects. With the variety of pegs and extender packs Brenda has available, the NTaJ! possibilities are endless, especially with all the demonstrations she gives to inspire handufacturers.

We had a lovely morning chatting while I demonstrated how to wax a rainbow onto the wire bird Brenda had brought.

FridayMyDay Fieldtrip to Maike Vw's!Rollin'! . . .

Posted by Brenda Meintz Schweder on Friday, December 16, 2016

You can find the tutorial on making the wire part of the bird here:

HolidayBird Ornament Tutorial: Part II (The BirdFrame)Rollin'! . . .

Posted by Brenda Schweder Jewelry on Monday, October 17, 2016

A live watcher won the final piece. I am actually polling what kinds of birds are popular for a murmuration project.

Then my traveling Angel said goodbye to Ugly Sweater Angel.

We went for lunch and then I introduced Brenda to the merchants of the Main-Dempster Mile, which was a blast. I think she might return to Evanston, possibly before going to Rockford. 😉

A few days later Brenda mentioned a Craftsy Tutorial, and I signed up for one of hers too, of course.

I also want to re-read this article and jig that necklace up.

I am certain that 2017 will bring more NtaJ! shenanigans along with more Brenda fun!

Now That’s a Jig! news and product updates are available here, and you can take NTaJ! classes at June’s Bead & Button Show.

Bucktown Show Recap

My last show for the season was the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow.

As always, this show was a lot of fun and featured many creative artists.

I enjoyed making new friends and catching up with the regulars.

Day One was filled with visiting friends and some new admirers.

I enjoyed watching what people gravitated to in my booth.

I enjoyed lunch from the Yum Dum foodtruck outside.

The silent auction was in full swing in all rooms.

 

Chicago Cubs Pride was on display in many booths.

I was happy to see rainbow angels flutter off again.

Soon it was time to close up.

It snowed lightly on the way home.

The next morning I was greeted by a murmuration.

I unveiled my booth and rearranged my pieces.

It was my last time trimming trees for the year.

More customers streamed in.

Even our organizers and volunteers shopped.

These faux leather trees by MoHop are on my wishlist for next year.

I parted with some of my personal favorite angels.

Dragonflies also fluttered away.

I might see some of these adornments around town again.

A good day called for a reward.

Then came time for teardown.

I said bye to bobblehead frosty.

Another snowy evening for a beautiful winter wonderland.

Here’s to next year!

Enlightenment

The day before my birthday, a light fixture fell on my head. My mom was coming to town and I was preparing the futon for her to sleep on, when the ceiling fan decided to wobble out of alignment and to the floor, but since I had just pulled the futon out and was looking down, it bounced off my head onto the cushions.

A lightbulb shattered all over the place, and my forehead had an instant bump.

So I told mom to take a cab and swept the shards off myself to lay down for a bit, while googling concussion symptoms. After mom arrived we did cleanup and I had a fun birthday week with her, including a visit to Little Light Bazaar so I could shop for light fixtures.

After mom departed I interviewed electricians, and then researched ceiling fans, concentrating on flush mounts only.

I had a fun visit with Mateen to select the colors of my chandelier. All globes are interchangeable so you can change your mind and do a new color scheme over time.

The electricians arrived and on day one pulled out all the old wiring of my 1925 unit.

Outlets came first.

All the old lights came down.

Then they ran new wiring through all the light switches and light fixtures.

The next day they upgraded my fuses, and I no longer have neighbor envy. Now my studio has the appropriate power supply for all my equipment.

Soon the pretty part came and the new light fixtures were securely and professionally installed. I didn’t ask anyone to swing from chandeliers, but I am assured none of these will crash down on me.

Getting electrical work done is a scary thing, and I held off out of fear of the expense and any scope creep, but this project was completed within 2 days. Some of the vintage fixtures could have been fire hazards. I donated all the old ones to a refurbishing store.

I had fun playing with the dimmer switches and enjoying the light in my studio.

Since my futon cover was littered with mercury glitter, we tossed the thing out and I shopped affordable portables for a new cover. I fell in love with BOHO by SIS covers, which was so new the store had to order a sample. That made me feel quite fashion forward.

I love the bohemian-ness of this design, which obviously fits right in as a work surface!

My favorite room is the bedroom, where we installed the beautiful chandelier.

All globes are hand made with Czech glass and each has its own personality. It completes the decal headboard very nicely.

Now I am enlightened in all my rooms, and happy this home improvement project is completed. My head is also OK. The weekend after the bump I had some bad symptoms where lights were too bright and noises were too loud. Strobe lights at a party were very irritating so I had to move off the dance floor, but otherwise things are back to my normal.